Active Shooter drills mark the end of my "America the Beautiful"

Active Shooter drills mark the end of my "America the Beautiful"

For the past three years, I have made a bi-annual pilgrimage to a resort in Palm Springs, CA. Every June and December, me and about a hundred of my closest word-nerd friends come together for nine days of reading, writing, and romance. (Okay, not really the last one but I like how that sounded.) We abandon the "real" world that, even for a non-ugly middle-class white girl, can be a real struggle at times….

I didn’t make the trip this time around, but still checked in with a good friend who made the journey out west to visit Hotel Awesome:

Active Shooter drills: the New Normal in America

Active Shooter drills: the New Normal in America

And with that, the filaments barely keeping my heart together in the wake of the shootings in Colorado Springs and San Bernardino - snapped.

For in all the years I have stayed in that California resort there had been no need to make a solid plan for how we would handle a person’s decision to spray bullets into a crowd of innocent people – that morbid side-effect generated by the 2nd Amendment: the right to massacre.

The Greatest Nation on Earth has decided that active shooter drills are completely acceptable as the new “normal," from my son's elementary school to my favorite nerd camp out west. And that decision marks the end of my "America the Beautiful."

***

My father was an Air Force pilot in the Vietnam war, and today I do not feel safe in the country he served. I do not consider ISIS to be an immediate threat to my daily life, but I do fear getting caught in the crossfire of gun violence, regardless of who pulls the trigger. When I walk out of my front door I step into a land that has proclaimed that the Wild West lifestyle is A-OK with the US of A.

And I feel betrayed by my fellow Americans who are calling those of us who seek to curb the madness: “idiots.” Meanwhile, the citizens of this country who are this very minute planning and coordinating new attacks on Americans are getting the message to “Go right ahead. Plan away. We have no plans to try and stop you. Get on with it.”

I’m emotionally leveled when, on an outing with my 7 year old son, I find myself looking around for where I would hide him if someone opened fire. And then I'm told I'm a clueless moron when I ask that that not be the case.

Isn’t that what terrorists seek to do - to destroy the American way of life from the inside out by planting seeds of fear in our minds? Because that is what is happening to me, and ISIS is not responsible. A home-grown gun policy is the mastermind behind that real and present terror.

And yet it remains a hard line in conversations everywhere:

Bad guys are going to be bad guys, and they will always get guns one way or another, so why even bother? (Right. Like how cancer is always going to kill people….so why even bother to seek a cure.)

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. (Right. And chocolate doesn’t MAKE people fat..)

The answer is that more good guys need guns. (As flattering as that is, trust me, I am not the solution, here. I will probably end up shooting you in the face and the nuts, and then I’ll lose my mind and will start shooting your kids in their face and nuts, and then the police will mistakenly shoot the crazy bitch shooting everyone in the face and nuts. Just…no)

Don’t take my guns, missy. (Oh dear God, you know what? Gimme. Just, please, can just I borrow one of your guns for, like, ten minutes? You can have it back after I shoot myself in the head so I don’t have to hear you completely miss the point even one more time.)

Gotta be able to defend ourselves against that government of ours when it steps out of line. (Pssst: Tanks and drones, man. Tanks and drones. And wait..aren't we supposed to just do what the policemen tell us to do? Didn't I recently hear people being admonished for disrespecting the law of the land?)

WTF, America. Suddenly The Greatest Nation in the World is a helpless toddler, and all we can do is babyproof our home?

****

Not too long ago, people feared that Elvis’ pelvis was going to ruin America, and I’m sure that even today there are those of us who think pink hair and baggy jeans are a sign of the decline of our culture. To say that someone or something is “ruining America’ is a pretty hefty accusation to be leveled towards any particular movement or ideology.

And so I own the gravity when I say that the implementation of the #ActiveShooter drill at my desert oasis signals the death of my America. It would be downright dishonest to 'pledge my allegiance' any more, for that pledge included “liberty and justice for all.” When I venture out into the New America, the one on this side of the Columbine tipping point, I do not feel liberty. I feel like I have been taken hostage by 2nd Amendment Fundamentalism.

And we all know how dangerous fundamentalism can be, right?

***

That's my piece, and I have no peace this time around. Thank you for taking the time to read my words. It truly means the world to me.

OSM
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